137 x 216 x 27mm
What happens when a Chinese woman falls in love with an English man and realises that learning the language doesn't necessarily lead to understanding. Funny, sexy, romantic and terribly sad - a love story for a global age.
Who would believe that reading a novel written in deliberately bad English could be as uplifting an experience as this? But Xiaolu Guo, writing in English for the first time, has pulled it off in a novel that has the potential to be as successful as 'A History Of Tractors In Ukranian' or 'Lost In Translation'. Her narrator, who calls herself Z because no one can pronounce her name, is a 23-year-old Chinese language student who has come to London to learn English. When the book begins she can barely ask for a cup of tea, but when language comes, so does love. As she gets to know British culture she also falls for an older English man who lives a resolutely bachelor life in Hackney. It's a million miles away from the small Chinese town she comes from, where her parents want nothing more for her than that she should follow them into the shoe business. Z learns about sex, humour, companionship and passion, but she also learns the painful truth that language is also a barrier and the more you know about it, the less you understand.
Written in short chapters, each the definition of a word, this is a brilliantly clever book that pokes fun at England and China, explores the endless possibilities for misunderstanding between East and West and paints a portrait of a relationship that everyone will understand, no matter what their nationality.